We all know that hospital charges can be wacky, but that applies to the prescription drugs that you take every day, too:
Sudden chest pains landed Diane Zachor in a Duluth, Minn., hospital overnight, but weeks later she had another shock — a $442 bill for the everyday drugs she also takes at home, including more than a half dozen common medicines to control diabetes, heart problems and high cholesterol.
“I just couldn’t believe some of these prices they charge,” said Zachor, 66. “It’s just atrocious.” For the price she was charged for her insulin during her 18-hour stay at St. Luke’s Hospital, Zachor would have enough to cover her out-of-pocket expenses for a three-month supply under her private Medicare Advantage plan. The tab for one water pill to control high blood pressure could buy a three-week supply. And the bill for one calcium tablet could purchase enough for three weeks, when she gets them over the counter from a national chain pharmacy.
Even though her health plan covers medical and drug expenses, her policy would not pay the hospital drug bill because St. Luke’s never formally admitted her, instead billing the visit as observation care, which is considered outpatient service.
How bad were your last hospital bills? Tell us about it in our discussion forum!
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